Characteristics of the Cloud

The benefits of good cloud migrations would not mean much without an understanding of the integral role that the cloud plays in modern day data center architectures. The cloud has become viewed as a massive disruptive technology that has transformed IT operations, deployments and cost structures.


The term environment can be associated to infrastructures or workloads that are physical, virtualized or in the cloud. Companies need the seamless movement of workloads between these different environments. The power to migrate can greatly empower enterprises and can service as providers to help create quick and elastic infrastructures that are able to react to the ever changing demands on their applications, services and business offerings.

There are is a question that surrounds the value of cloud migrations.

What are the main characteristics of a cloud?

In the rest of this article, we will explain our answer to this question.
There are a basic set of features that all cloud platforms should have, and they are as follows:

The Cloud and Self Service

End users have the ability to help themselves, this is a reverse idea to the traditional data centers. Now, developers of applications and software can implement, deploy and test on virtual machines with very specific requirements, on their own. This workflow is in stark contrast to the old legacy IT processes.

The Cloud and Rapid Deployment

Dev-ops, developers and IT departments can now rapidly, deploy, test, repeat and scale their applications infrastructure before releasing them into production. This workflow is able to provide operational and development flexibility. That is not an easy achievement in legacy infrastructures. Basically, it is the time taken from the point a PO has been approved; to proper server provisioning and any software installation can easily be on order of weeks. These problem areas have been addressed by cloud platforms and systems.

Highly Elastic, Scalable and Flexible

Elasticity, flexibility and lower op ex are some very important characteristics that CIO’s, IT managers and software managers are looking for. Elasticity and flexibility are probably the two most important characteristics that are built into the basic DNA of clouds.

The software industry has sustained a paradigm shift in terms of software deployment, especially the need for an on demand expansion and scalability. The elastic nature of the cloud enables application scalability, to help meet the rapidly changing demands.

The Cloud and Multi-Tenancy

An essential characteristic of the cloud is multi tenancy. The benefits include data center consolidation.

The end users should have a seamless experience, and be unconcerned about the fact that they are running on shared resources.

Operational Efficiency/Consolidation and Resource Sharing

This basically means that, for example, Coke and Pepsi could run their applications on a shared infrastructure, with all the assurances of total isolation and security from each other.

The Cloud and Monitoring Services

Monitoring features can notify end users about any alarms, failures, load or other features of their cloud infrastructure. This will provide them with the capability to take any appropriate corrective action that is necessary.

Monitoring the frameworks in general is a very critical component of physical, virtualized or cloud platforms. The importance is increased on the cloud platforms due to the inherent failure characteristics of clouds. So, end users should to be notified of each failure so that any corrective actions can be taken.

The Cloud and Orchestration Services

Orchestration services will provide for the ability of end users to manage cloud deployments and to be able to react to the constantly changing requirements and demands. Orchestration services will assist in basic deployment services and help with implementing and enforcing SLA’s.

The Cloud and Infrastructure on Demand

This characteristic can provide the ability of instantaneous gratification in the context of IT resources. End-users can deploy and instantiate collections of compute, network and storage resources instantly or in a matter of minutes. These turnaround times to stand up infrastructure related services continue to be improbable in the legacy data centers. This characteristic compliments agile development, deployment, lower opex, and enables users to have control over their environment.

Commodity Hardware

Cloud platforms are usually built on commodity hardware. The main reason is because of the cost. Some other reasons include the fact that a large part of the software applications do not need high end hardware platforms.

API Driven

Clouds platforms display a restful API interface, this enables programmatic interaction. The API also provides the ability for end-users to develop more sophisticated scripts, client tools and orchestration software to help automate all aspects of interacting with the cloud.

The characteristics that we laid out and described above explains why IT managers and CIO’s across a lot of industries are using clouds to transform the way they do business and more importantly greatly reduce both operational and capital expenditures.

To learn more about the cloud and the characteristics of the cloud, go to Cloud on

To read more about the cloud and what it is made of, visit Cloud FAQs.